L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Monday, July 12, 2010

Second day on the hill

I took another hike today. Grayer and more populated than my first of the season, but full-length; I was wary of overdoing it, last Wednesday, so I only did about three-quarters of my regular route. Happy that I appear to be in better shape than I thought I was. And happy that I've got my walking music back.

You'd think that I'd be content to revel in the quietude of the trail - nothing more than my footsteps and my breathing, the wind in the trees and vigorous birdsong above - but my frantic little brain will have none of that. So one of two things is continually unspooling as I march along: a particular musical passage played on a loop in my head or Madeleine Prévert's non-stop babbling.

If you're not familiar with my alter-ego, Mlle. Prévert, she's a glamorous, appallingly egotistical chanteuse. She believes herself to be Anglo-French - though she is neither - aged thirty-ish - certainly not that, either - and her existence is firmly stuck in 1936. I've performed Madeleine three times, now, and G has joined me twice, playing her feisty daughter, Penny. The problem is that, when la Prévert isn't actually singing, she spends all of her time spouting utter nonsense...emphatically; her entire life is written in italics! And last year, during most of my hikes, I found myself channeling the silly creature - in the woods! The very last place one would expect to encounter the rantings of this, the most urban and theatrical - and unnatural - of women. She chattered on and on and on until I was forced to give her her own blog, if only to have some peace. Thereafter, she spewed forth the most inappropriate and idiotic blather; hopefully some readers found it amusing. Oddly, after I stopped hiking, when the weather got too wet, we began to hear less and less from the old girl and, now, she hasn't addressed her public since February. That might be about to change. I didn't hear a peep out of her last Wednesday, but I think she is near. In amongst the trees, circling round, like a Patou-clad wraith. And today, on the trail, I do believe I may have caught a whiff of her (terribly costly) parfum wafting on the breeze.

When Madeleine goes blessedly silent, I'll find a tune going on and on - fully symphonic - in my head. Last year's hit parade was topped by "Amour qui meurs!...amour qui passes!..." from Reynaldo Hahn's delicious Ciboulette. A grand waltz for soprano and chorus that is the climax and finale of the operetta, it turned out to be an excellent accompaniment to hill-scrambling; I expect mountain goats would find it delightful. Having a steady beat in your head makes those beastly little ascents so much easier to make, trudging along, manfully, in waltz-time! Last week, over-oxygenated and concrete-footed, I tried to access this piece, but could only do so sporadically. And when I did, I found myself dreadfully under tempo. It was less valse brillante and considerably more marche funèbre. Today was much better. I caught it and it stuck - happy trails!


  1. I miss Mad,... madly.. pardon my pun... and have to pull up the videos ( films, darling) regularly.

  2. You're sweet - and definitely pardoned!

  3. Best line:

    "...trudging along, manfully, in waltz-time..."

  4. Thanks, wife. Yeah, I kinda liked it, too!